News in brief: Strengthening ties with China; EU

News in brief
News in brief

UK Business Secretary talks of strengthening ties with China

In a recent speech at the Savoy in London, Business Secretary Sajid Javid stressed the importance of the UK strengthening economic and cultural ties with China. Noting that in recent months talk has turned to a golden year for China-UK relations, he said the challenge now is to turn a golden year into a golden era.

“Here in Britain our economy is growing faster than that of any other G7 nation,” commented Javid, adding: “As we continue to implement our long-term economic plan for the UK, China offers us a huge new source of investment and export opportunities.

“Meanwhile, even if China’s economy were to grow by only 5% this year, it would still represent a quarter of all global GDP growth in 2015. As China rebalances and reforms its economy, UK companies, technology and services can complement its development and help it achieve its ambitions. Doing more business together has already been of great benefit to both our countries.”

Demand for British barley is booming in China

British barley is booming in China as growing demand for beers and ales leads to a trade deal worth up to £100 million for UK farmers, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss has announced.

Barley producers will reap the benefits of this new landmark trade deal, which could lead to around 750,000 tonnes of top quality British grain being exported to Chinese breweries over the next five years.

The deal has been struck this week as Elizabeth Truss leads a delegation of 80 UK food and drink businesses to China—the largest ever food and drink trade mission of its kind—to turbocharge Britain’s exports to the world’s largest market.

Not only are the Chinese using British barley to produce beer, they also have a growing thirst for the UK-produced beverage, including Fullers and Meantime, with £15 million worth of British beer exported to the country last year — a 186% increase since 2013. Up-and-coming microbreweries, such as St Peter’s Brewery in Suffolk and Ilkley Brewery in Yorkshire, have also recently stated exporting there.

UK Minister for Europe welcomes progress reports from the EU

Every autumn, the Commission publishes its Annual Enlargement Package - a strategy paper and progress reports on Enlargement countries. This year’s Annual Enlargement Strategy breaks with precedent in being a medium-term rather than annual strategy, for the period of the mandate of the Commission.

Responding to the report, Minister for Europe David Lidington said: “I welcome these reports. Enlargement is one of the EU’s most important foreign policy successes and an important means of securing UK security priorities in our backyard. The UK strongly supports enlargement to the Western Balkans and Turkey as part of our vision of an open, flexible, secure Europe, once EU standards are met.

The minister noted the important progress achieved over the past year in regional economic development.

As the reports note, the economic convergence of candidate countries with the EU helps mitigate migratory pressures to the EU.